You can view the PowerPoint presentation for this talk here: http://www.slideshare.net/NickPendergrast/veganarchism-by-nick-pendergrast
This talk was featured on episode 134 of Progressive Podcast Australia, with an additional discussion on the points from one slide that was skipped in this recording: https://progressivepodcastaustralia.com/2016/05/29/134/
This paper will draw on existing research, as well as my own research and experiences as a vegan activist and anarchist, to explore the links between veganism and anarchism. Some of the previous works that I will be relying on include Brian Dominick’s pamphlet ‘Animal Liberation and Social Revolution’ (where the term “veganarchism” was coined) and the book Making a Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights by sociologist Bob Torres, which analyses human/non-human relations from an anarchist perspective.
In some ways, veganism and anarchism are very compatible. Both are focused on people making change themselves, rather than requesting change from the state or politicians. There is also a shared rejection of hierarchy. Vegans reject the power humans have over non-human animals, just as anarchists reject the power that the leadership class has over citizens.
In other ways, veganism can be viewed and promoted in a manner that is antithetical to anarchism. Some arguments for veganism along the lines of “the consumer holds the power” fit neatly within free-market capitalism. In this neoliberal framework, people are encouraged to see the market and individual consumption as the legitimate arena for social change. Consumerbased solutions function within and support capitalism, while neglecting structural inequality.
Along with considering veganism and anarchism, this paper will analyse the way in which different theories towards non-human animals, such as animal welfare, animal rights and animal liberation are consistent/inconsistent with anarchism. I’ll also give some suggestions on how to make veganism more anarchist and anarchism more vegan.
Nick Pendergrast is the Deputy Coordinator of Animal Rights Advocates (www.ara.org.au). He also co-hosts the intersectional, political podcast Progressive Podcast Australia (www.ProgressivePodcastAustralia.com) and alternative news show, Indymedia on RTR community radio, 92.1 FM. He recently completed his PhD in Sociology, which explored the animal advocacy movement, primarily in Australia and the United States, and the range of ideologies, activism, organisations, and key actors that make up this movement. He also teaches Sociology and Anthropology at Curtin University in Perth.